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BACK CHILD SUPPORT MODIFICATIONS-Sacramento County How far back can I go to have back child support recalculated?

Chatsworth, CA |

I have an order from 2009 during a default hearing. The order is based on an overstatement of my wages. We had a severe custody battle for 2.5 years that included minors counsel and a 730 eval. Custody changed hands several times since then and we now have a split custody agreement. Problem is, I owe her 10K in back support from an order that states I was making $ 4,800 a month and had zero custody.
I filed an FL 150 in 4/10 and it wasn’t heard. I filed another one in 6/10 that also wasn’t heard.
I had the kids all summer and was making less than $ 4,800 a month and was responsible for day care costs while her order from 2009 had her collecting those costs from me. Can I have any of this looked at and if so, in what order do I file? I will revise per the new order but what about the debt?

I live in Los Angeles but the case is out of Sacramento County. The old order shows me making more than I did (I was unemployment) and her not working. She has been employed now for 18 months and I have now been employed for 2 years and make 75K a year. I do almost all the driving which is not reflected in the old order. I have had to pay two summers of child care even though the order shows her requesting that (she asked for $ 1,800 while she looks for a job). Child support services takes 50% of my income for the order plus the back support. I realize the new order will lower support based on 35% custody and her income but I would like to have her back support reflect actual time with the kids and correct incomes.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. First, you can have the Sacramento Judgment registered here in Los Angeles county and assigned an LA County Superior Court case number so you can work on your case here in Los Angeles. Second, what you need is an Order to Show Cause regarding modification of your previous (current) support/custody orders. In the absence of any new orders, you are bound by the 2009 order and obligated to pay the arrears. The mere filing of FL-150 in 4/10 and 6/10 does not entitle you to a hearing or modification of a support order. See FL-301 and FL-310.

    As far as "how far back" you can go, once your motion is heard and hopefully granted, the order will be retroactive to the date you filed/served your motion. It sounds to me like you need a lawyer helping you out. Not having a lawyer helping you out has already cost you 10K in back support.

  2. I agree with attorney Waxman's analysis. The filing of your OSC to Modify will secure the retroactivity date, but it needs to be done (and done properly). There are several local attorneys who will consult with you. You only need to pay them the consultation fee. Also, it is most helpful if the attorney can look at all the filings; and evaluate why the previous hearings were not actually heard in order to provide you with a full assessment of your situation. Best Wishes with your matter.

  3. The court cannot modify the order unless and until you file a request to modify the order. An income and expense declaration does not ask the court to modify anything. Any modification you request will ONLY be retroactive to the filing date. That means that if you get your modification request filed tomorrow, a change in the support orders can only be retroactive to June 7, 2012.

    This is why it is imperative that you seek legal assistance any time you think that a court order is wrong – to make sure you act quickly and procedurally correctly. An incorrect order is an order nonetheless and you will be stuck with it until you get a request to change it in front of a judge with jurisdiction. File your modification request in the Sacramento court before you do anything to try and transfer the case.

    Best of luck to you.

    Attorney Rebekah Ryan Main – visit us on the web at or call 909-891-0906 to set up a consultation.

    If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

    This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not create a right to continuing email exchanges.

    This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not create a right to continuing email exchanges.

  4. The only retroactive modification allowed in CA Child Support is to the date of the filing of the OSC for modification, or you can modify child support to zero for periods of incarceration greater than 90 days, which probably doesn't apply in your case. You can also modify the arrears by having the order for support or the modification set aside (upon some legal ground - this is probably unlikely) or have the court grant you credit for the time that you had custody of your child but were still ordered to pay child support. In either case, that would be a matter best addressed by an attorney.

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